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Sheriff talks about jail overcrowding

At today’s Sedgwick County commission meeting with staff, Sheriff Robert Hinshaw shared statistics about the jail’s population, saying the number of inmates the sheriff’s office is dealing with is approaching “crisis mode.”

Commissioners have been talking for years about how to deal with overcrowding at the jail. They approved a jail expansion but last year opted not to proceed to give taxpayers some property tax relief.

Commissioners also have been discussing building a new work release center to lower the number of inmates at the jail.

Hinshaw said programs such as work release have helped slow the growth of the jail’s population, but he noted the number of inmates still is rising. And he also told the board today that the largest group of inmates at the jail are people who have committed felony crimes.

Commissioners are waiting for recommendations from Justice Concepts Inc., a consultant group hired last year to study ways to reduce the jail’s population. Justice Concepts’ 10-month contract ended in June.